Picture Books – Black Book of Colors

From a mainstream point of view, this book is a novelty: the pages are completely black, outside of a single sentence in white font. Instead of colorful illustrations, the book features raised areas on the facing page, allowing the child to feel the texture of the “picture” instead of looking at the illustrations. The intent is to mimic the experience a child with visual impairments might have with books and the concepts of color.

That the book is intended for a mainstream audience, rather than for children who are blind or visually impaired, is evident in several features of the book. First of all, it is not published by one of the specialty publishers. Secondly, it is a hardcover book. Almost all Braille books are paperbacks, since a hard cover might bruise or damage the Braille printing. The Braille portions of this book are not printed with the usual method, but instead the publisher used the same plasticky substance that was used to create the “images”. This results in Braille that is barely raised above the page. A co-worker who is blind indicated that it was readable, but took extra concentration and was difficult to read.

his makes the book somewhat of a disappointment. It isn’t much use to children with visual impairments, and can be misleading to non-visually impaired children because the Braille it presents is not that typically found in books printed especially for a visually impaired audience. I had the book on the edge of my desk for a few hours after school. It attracted a lot of attention from middle and high school students. I heard a lot of comments to the effect of “Wow, Braille must be really hard to learn to read, I can barely feel the difference between each letter!” Now, it is entirely possible that these children would have had just as much difficulty with a normal Braille book, but to present the barely legible Braille as a standard is misleading.

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